We’re living through scary, turbulent and uncertain times. We, like you, are feeling the fear and pain of the potential fall-out of the global crisis that is COVID-19. We worry about our parents, our society and our future. 

But if there is a silver lining to a global pandemic, it’s that it offers a chance for humanity to put aside its differences and find the compassion needed to help one another; to act as one people, devoid of division. 

Will we? 

It’s up to each of us to make it so. 

Chocolate the grizzly bear in Mount Robson Provincial Park

In trying to do our part to combat the spread of this virus, we also need to reflect on how we got here and how we’ll move forward – as individuals and as a society – when we return to normal, or the new normal. 

COVID-19 is the likely byproduct of a broken relationship with nature. This is not the first consequence of this faltering relationship, and it surely won’t be the last. 

We don’t pretend to have the answers. But we do know that the status quo is no longer acceptable. We do know something has to change. We need to learn and act. We need to work together, as a society, to ask the better questions so that we can find the better solutions.

Yet, this will only be achieved if each of us try to do our part; if each of us work to propose and support wildly new, different ideas. And, yes, many ideas will fail. But even in failure we’ll learn, improve and find the momentum of hope.

Of course, Nature Labs is our attempt to try something different, to do our part. We believe passionately in the next generation – if equipped with the ability to think critically and act creatively – to find the better balance between the needs of people and nature for the benefit of all life. We don’t know if it’s the right idea. We don’t know if we’re the right people to bring it to life. However, we’ll never know if we don’t try and to continue to try we will. 

Will COVID-19 allow us to keep building Nature Labs, after clearing so many seemingly impossible hurdles? We don’t know. We’ve lost funding and we might very well lose our apartment. We might very well lose the ability to capture the last of the content we need to complete the project. But until every last door is shut, we won’t give up.

In one sense, the purpose of Nature Labs – virtual, experiential learning that doesn’t shy away from the hard conversations and equips students with a foundation of nature literacy in all that they pursue and do – seems more important than ever. And, yet, we also know it’s so inconsequential compared to what so many are facing. 

This is not a plea for help or sympathy. We all have a story worthy of sympathy; we all need help for ourselves or someone we love. 

This is a plea for community, for humanity. A plea to come together and demand better of ourselves and of each other; to demand better of our systems and our world. 

And not just today, or in the weeks and months ahead, but in the years ahead. We must overcome our differences to help each other not only in a time of crisis, but each and every day. 

This is how we can beat COVID-19. 

This is how we will find a better balance between people and nature to prevent the next COVID-19. 

Be safe and be well,

Simon & Jill